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May 22, 2007

Ross Fisher


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Ross, thanks for joining us, the first interview of the BMW PGA Championship, your thoughts on the week and a special week for you, this, being a member here.
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, definitely. I think I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to this week at the start from where I finished this time last year. I've been a member here since '94. I've watched a lot of the Volvo PGAs, and now it's switched to the BMW, I've watched it a lot and to get my first experience last year was, you know, really, really fantastic for me. Obviously it was a dream come true, and obviously it didn't go as well as I would have liked.
But hopefully this year I'm coming into it a lot more fresher. I haven't played two weeks before and obviously Ireland last year, made it to a Monday finish, so preparations were not as good as they could have been.
This year, I've prepared, had a good three weeks off, Ireland was my first week back. Didn't go according to plan, but got some good practise in so far and really looking forward to questions this week.

Q. You said last year that it caught up with you on the Saturday; that having made the cut, which was the big thing, all of the relations and all of the members being here caught up with you a bit on a Saturday. Did you learn a lot from that?
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, I think so. Like I just said before, when I played last year, obviously I came off the back of the British Masters at The Belfry and obviously the Nissan at Carton House, finished on a Monday, so I almost felt like I was running a little bit on adrenaline. That was really trying to get me through the week. I still felt pretty fit and pretty strong but yeah, just woke up Saturday and just felt a little bit stiff in my back and obviously the cold weather on the Saturday and the rain didn't really help.
So it was a good experience for me but obviously to not do as well as I would have hoped, it was a little bit disappointing. So I'm kind of really keen and eager to really push myself and give myself the best opportunity of being in position come Sunday afternoon.

Q. We had Padraig talking last week about problems of playing in front of his home crowd and in his home country. Now, what's it like playing in front of your members?
ROSS FISHER: I suppose I probably try my best not to think about it. I mean, obviously I'm trying to do the best I can for myself and try and play to the best of my abilities, but just I'm playing in front of home support and local support and I have a lot of family and friends and like I say, a lot of members watching me.
But, you know, I'm hoping that that will carry me through and give me a real big confidence boost knowing that there is so much support for me, and also just trying to play as good as I can to show them, you know -- to show them some good golf really.

Q. What remarks do you enjoy and what worry you?

Q. What are the kind of remarks that you enjoy and that are helpful, and what are the kind of remarks that make you worry?
ROSS FISHER: Probably the remarks that you get quite a bit actually when I've come back off tournaments and I haven't done so well and people kind of say, "Oh, what was it, your putting" sort of thing, or was it this; was it that. It's just difficult to try and explain it because they don't know, you could be in the Middle East or somewhere far away where the conditions are so different to what they have ever experienced.
So it is difficult to sort of, you know, you've got to say it with a smile sort of thing and you've got to know deep down, it really wasn't that. But I can't really stand there for sort of half an hour or an hour and explain what's wrong.
But on the positive side, it's great when people come up and say, "Well done last week." And there's so much support for me last week and every time I tee it up, people from the club or my family and close friends tune into SKY Sports, or this week, BBC, just watch me and see how I'm doing; it's a wonderful feeling.

Q. So should they saying "well done" once you've made a cut; is that well done, is it?
ROSS FISHER: Well, no, I mean, this week I'm turning up this week trying to win the tournament. I'm not just here to make up the numbers. I know that if I play to my capabilities I've got a really good chance of winning around here because I've been a member for, what, 13 years now. So I know the course, I would hope, really, really well.
The only thing for me is obviously playing in this tournament, the courses set up a hell of a lot different to what I play day-in and day-out. The greens are obviously firm and they are very fast. The rough is up and obviously playing off the back tees; whereas I don't often get the opportunities to play right off the back tees, so it is a different course for me.
But I'm hoping that being a member here for so long that's going to hold me in good stead and should help me out this week.

Q. I didn't mean you thought it was well done just to make the cut, but people learning what they should say to somebody like you; is "well done" what they should be saying?
ROSS FISHER: Well, it's difficult. To get the "well done" is great, but obviously I'm not here just to make the cut. I'm here to try to win the golf tournament. So hopefully, you know, I can get some "well dones" if I'm holding the trophy come Sunday. That would be quite nice.
But no, just to have a really good week and to play how I know I can play, just to give myself an opportunity, like I say, come Sunday to have a chance at winning would be, you know, a really good week for me. You know, it's going to be difficult, obviously the course is set up pretty tough. Like I say, a lot of support and so there's a little bit of added pressure as it were on me. But I'm just going to go out and play how I know I can play and hopefully it will be good enough at the end of the week.

Q. How do you feel you're playing at the moment?
ROSS FISHER: I feel I've been playing really well. I had three weeks off and I feel like I was playing really nicely in the three weeks. I was fortunate enough to go to Dubai for a week with a good friend of mine from here and played every day and it was really, really nice to get away from what I thought was the cold weather but turns out we had nice weather here.
I've done some really good work with my coach, Christian, over those couple of weeks and I've done some really good work this week. Obviously Ireland last week was very disappointing because I had a decent chance on the third day. I just finished badly, and then didn't quite play how would I have liked to have played on Friday. So it was a shame to miss the cut.
But to get, you know, an extra couple of days off, hopefully, will help me out in some ways. I feel like I'm ready now. So come Thursday, I'll be trying my damnedest to win.

Q. I'm sure you were ready for Tour life being sort of peaks and troughs, so have you taken in your stride the lean stead that put you in the spotlight?
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, you're going to get as you say, peaks and troughs and up-and-downs. And last year it came for me at probably the wrong time because I was doing so well and just needed to carry it all the way through the season but unfortunately it went a little bit sour.
So, you know, I'm hoping my sort of low point is sort of been and gone and now I can just look forward and climb up the ladder and climb up the Order of Merit from now on.

Q. How important is it for young golfers, aspiring professionals in this part of the players, to see local players like yourself perform well in this tournament?
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, I think it would probably give a lot of young kids a lot of help and confidence now that obviously I'm quite young and I'm still quite inexperienced out here. To see a young guy tackling the old guy or the guys that have been out here ten, 20 years, I think they are probably looking -- well, I hope they are looking, well, if he can do it, why can't I do it. So hopefully it will help them inspire them to work hard and to do what I've been dreaming since I was three years old.

Q. What was inspiring you at three years old?
ROSS FISHER: I don't know if I can remember that far back but obviously I've been playing since I was three, just fell in love with the game really and it was something that I've always wanted to do. And obviously through my career, I knew I was getting closer and closer and then when the opportunity finally came to turn pro, I felt like I was ready and, you know, I didn't felt like I had made it. So obviously you still have a lot of work to do.
Obviously last year I had a really, really good season. Obviously so far this year, I keep competing against like Tiger in Dubai, I know my game is good enough to compete with the very best in the world. So I have to just try to make sure I do that week-in and week-out.

Q. What was the main lesson of that week?
ROSS FISHER: It was quite a difficult week in some respects because everyone was sort of congratulating me on such a great week, but at the same time, I felt really, really pleased. But I was, you know, pretty gutted that I didn't win because I felt like I had played so well all week and I had a really good chance on the Saturday and the Sunday. And if it wasn't for, you know, a couple of bad breaks here, a couple of putts there, it could have been a different story.
You know, I took a lot from that obviously playing with Tiger on Sunday and to be head-to-head with the world's best player, obviously he wasn't firing on all cylinders but it was amazing to watch a guy obviously as close-up as I was and watching Tiger over four and a half hours, seeing how he went about the course. And obviously he wasn't playing at his best but just seeing his mental attitude, he basically just got to the tournament and if it wasn't for a shorted putt on 16, he probably would have won the tournament.
Just watching his mental toughness and knowing that he wasn't playing his best but he still managed to grind out a score, which probably took the most from. Obviously it's quite a grueling season, so if you can grind out a score if you're not playing your best, that shows quite a class player, I think.

Q. Were there still certain shots in that round that you thought, wow, from Tiger?
ROSS FISHER: From Tiger? Yeah, probably his chip shot on 11 actually when he duffed it. I was a bit shocked actually. (Laughter) I couldn't believe it. I sort of -- I almost had to pinch myself, crickey, has he just done that. But to show that that's the player that he is and the class act that he is to just get up and down and just forget it and go on and birdie 13, 14, 15, you know, I just knew he was going to hole that chip shot on 15. I don't know why, I just thought, he's going to hole this, and obviously he did. And everything happened within the space of a few minutes. Obviously Ernie holed a bunker shot and holed it, Tiger holed it. As I say if he didn't miss his putt on 16, he probably would have birdied 16 and possibly the last two and would have won.
But yeah, he was just, like I say, he wasn't on the best form. There was a few shots that stood out for me probably more so bad shots thinking, well, this guy is actually human after all. He does make mistakes. But, you know, I learned a lot. He was just such a great guy to play golf with.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Ross, good luck this week. Thank you very much.

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